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Beauty in the Bush | Botswana

by Ingrid Hale

Fashion and beauty editor Helen Clemson spent a dreamy week in Botswana at some of the swankiest lodges in the country. Her packing dilemma meant a streamlined suitcase with bush-appropriate attire – and some glam for the evening. This is how she saved face while on safari.

Short Supply

Flying around Botswana meant packing light; a light aircraft dictated no more than 20 kilos in a soft bag, and as my fellow travellers and I were visiting two of the most upmarket lodges in Botswana – enter Jack’s Camp and Sable Alley (visit Natural Selection for more info) – it couldn’t be your typical roughing-it safari capsule wardrobe. Fashion wise, it was pretty easy to pack earthy neutrals (read bush colours) that mixed and matched – as well as some leopard print for the evening. Hey, when in Africa! But for my skincare and make up needs, things got a little trickier. And as the temperature was often in the high to mid 30’s during the day, I couldn’t scrimp on sunscreen – and for some reason, no one has thought of travel-sizes in that department!

Here are a few tips that really helped me keep my beauty grooming haul in check while on safari:

1). Fragrance takes the itch out of mozzie bites, so pack some!

2). Rather than pack a full make up bag that weighs a ton, I went with one product that made an impact when I needed to up my style game. An easy fall-back is a red lipstick (the one I chose is Dolce&Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Devil, R665). All you need with it is some foundation, bronzer and mascara – you can skip full-on eye make-up altogether!

3). I packed products that doubled up. To keep my skin further protected from the UV rays, I used a foundation with SPF like Filorga’s Flash-Nude Fluid SPF 30 (R525) both for day and night-time wear. When sun exposed, I layered a stand-alone sunscreen underneath, but as I had a hat on and kept my face out of the sun as much as possible, I found the SPF foundation did the trick.

4). I included a hydrating serum into my routine, morning and night. It may sound like a chore – not to mention something extra to pack – but honestly it saved my complexion from environmental dehydration and meant I didn’t need an industrial-sized tub of moisturiser.

5). I forwent face wipes and stuck with good ‘ol facial cleanser. Firstly I knew I’d be a sweaty soul on the trip and wanted to clean my face properly, but also it can double as a body cleanser – when you’re desperate!

Some like it Hot

I travelled to Jack’s Camp on the Makgadikgadi Pans (and spent time in the Okovango Delta), during the end of September and it was sweltering.  The belted shirt dress (above) by Poetry Stores was cool and light enough to survive the heat in, yet for a luxury safari experience, it was a bit more dressy than shorts and a tee. In the evenings, I threw a classic denim jacket over it if the temperature dipped slightly. A real win! This airy short-sleeved blouse (bottom left) by local fashion label Mareth Colleen kept me cool during the sweltering days and was so versatile to wear. I teamed it with slouchy cotton pants when on the river (the mosquitos stood no chance) and then added a long-ish military-green jacket in the evenings if needed. Post-bush trip, this blouse is still one of the most easy-to-wear pieces in my wardrobe and travels extremely well!



A stunning light blouse from Mareth Colleen.

This chunky knit from Poetry was a staple for the bush.

I also loved moving around Botswana with this stone-hued chunky knit (left) curtesy of Old Khaki.  A neutral knit goes with everything – and takes so much guess work out of dressing when travelling.  I think for transitional seasons, cardigan-style knitwear (albeit in thicker textures) means increased comfort for chilly mornings that turn warm very quickly.




Dolce&Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Devil, Sensai Lash Volumiser 36ºC mascara, Filorga’s Flash-Nude Fluid SPF 30 and Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure Nectar EDP.

Glam Squad

Just the essentials went into my make-up bag like (from left to right) Dolce&Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Devil (R665, at Edgars stores), Sensai Lash Volumiser 36ºC mascara (R685, at selected Edgars and Dis-Chem stores), Filorga’s Flash-Nude Fluid SPF 30 (R525, at Edgars, Red Square and Clicks stores) and Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure Nectar EDP (R 1, 430 for 50ml at Woolworths stores).


Sun protection products

Nuxe Sun Delicious Lotion High Protection Face and Body, Gatineau Aquamemory Moisture Replenish Concentrate and Heliocare 360º Airgel SPF50 Sunscreen.

Skin Saviours

Without trying, I arrived home with a tan – nothing short of SPF 30 was applied for my face, my belief is when in Africa, it’s SPF50 or no rays. These sun and skincare helpers really worked hard while in the bush! From left to right: Nuxe Sun Delicious Lotion High Protection Face and Body (R440, at selected Woolworths, Truworths and Edgars stores), Gatineau Aquamemory Moisture Replenish Concentrate (R885, at selected Woolworths, Truworths and Edgars stores) and Heliocare 360º Airgel SPF50 Sunscreen (R450 at dermastore.co.za).

Top to Toe

Shower products

Dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution and Cowshed Bollocks Bracing Body Wash

Knowing I’d need a jolly good wash at the end of day, I packed a facial cleanser that would do the job but wouldn’t strip my skin (a creamy, soap-free product always helps maintain moisture levels I find). I also needed a really fresh shower gel (a wake me up for those 5am game drives) as traveling with one’s favourite soap is completely hopeless! From left to right: Dermalogica Essential Cleansing Solution (R626 for 250ml at dermalogica.co.za) and Cowshed Bollocks Bracing Body Wash (R374.00 – Beautiful Age)


Photographs by Allison Foat and Helen Clemson

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